This blogging journey

Thank you so, so, so incredibly much for your warm and thoughtful wishes last week on my 5th blog anniversary.  I can’t quite imagine it either, for the record.  And the thought of five more years here seems both daunting and inevitable.  I want to respond to your questions, and will do so in a couple of posts because a few constellations of themes emerged.

Several questions grouped around the topic of why I started blogging, what the journey has been like, and how I feel about sharing personal things about myself and my children here.  Is there anything I regret or would change about my kind of blogging, what did I hope to gain from it, has writing here led me down unanticipated paths, when I started did I imagine I’d be writing the things I am now?

Of course it’s taken me 37 years to realize that it is not a coincidence that you’re asking me questions that have already been on my mind lately.  Launa can tell you that I’ve been thinking about these very topics recently.

I started blogging because there was so much I was afraid I would forget.  The first year of my life as a mother is a blur, to be honest, streaked with tears, rain, a baby’s colicky cries, late-night phone calls about heart transplants, and more tears.  An ocean of tears.  Eventually, once I found my balance again, I became aware of all the small things I didn’t want to lose.  I remember writing Grace a letter on her 2nd birthday (a tradition I’ve continued on this blog) – that is probably the first time I felt pushed back to the page, to the keyboard, in an effort to memorialize the mundane moments that I somehow knew were the stuff of my life.

My blog came out of that impulse.  Even before I was consciously aware of it, something deep inside me knew that life itself was in these little things, the light in the sky, the lyrics of a lullabye, or the funny things my children said.  This was just one example of what I now recognize as a pattern in my life: something essential is known to me in a deep, inchoate way long before I could articulate it.

And, yes, absolutely, this blog has led me places I never imagined.  I definitely thought of it as a personal or family scrapbook for a long time.  And then, imperceptibly but irrevocably, it became something else.  The five years of archives here are a record of my own awakening, my own gradual movement into a set of questions that continue to fascinate and preoccupy me.  I now have a map of my wandering around my own brain.  Also, importantly, blogging reminded me of my intense passion for writing, something I had frankly forgotten.  Because of this blog I have started – and finished a draft of – a memoir, written half of a novel, joined a writing class with my writing idol, and allowed myself to dream of a life in which writing is a central part.

Now, the stuff that has been on my mind.  Is there anything I’d change, anything I regret, do I worry about putting pictures of the kids up here?  In short no, no, and yes.  I wouldn’t change anything about what I share here, because of all the ways that writing this blog has enriched my life and my sense of myself.  My writing is instinctive and I can’t imagine blogging about less personal things.  But it is true that as my children get older I feel more concerned about sharing certain things about them.  I have always tried to write about my experience, but Grace and Whit are the main characters in these stories.  I feel more and more aware of certain things belonging to them now, and not to me.

I have always written frankly about the things I find difficult in mothering and about Grace and Whit’s challenges and struggles.  This candor marks me in person, too: I have written about how I feel both aware of and guilty about my willingness (need?) to present the unvarnished truth of my life.  I assure you, I have been judged on the playground.  As Grace and Whit get older, though, I feel newly constrained about sharing certain things.  There remains plenty of conflict and struggle for me on this mothering journey, and I’m wrestling with how to represent my path and experience honestly while respecting those two little people who didn’t ask to be written about.  Why do I have to represent it at all?  Because I figure out what I think when I write.  And, much more importantly, because I benefit so tremendously – I feel encouraged, taught, and heartened – when I read similarly honest accounts from other mothers about their own paths.

As to the photos and personal details, well, yes, that’s something I fret about too.  A reader emailed me several months ago saying that my willingness to put those things out here reflected my belief that the universe is a benevolent place, a generosity of spirit that she hoped would be reflected back to me.  I don’t know that I had thought about it that way but on reflection I think that is part of my motivation.  Also, more simply, I started writing and sharing photos when nobody was reading.  I oscillate between thinking that actually anyone can find anyone on these enormous interwebz and suspecting that I ought to be a lot more guarded in what I present.  I don’t have a good answer here, but I can tell you I think about it a lot.

More questions and answers soon!!  Thank you again for your thoughtful and thought-provoking responses, last week and always.


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13 Comments

  1. Posted September 19, 2011 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    thank you, lindsey. i am always inspired by your courage to share, as my children call it, “the honest story”, as you are experiencing it in real time. it is especially freeing for me, as i tend towards retreating, hiding, silencing. may your writing path continue to saturate your soul with goodness. gratitude from a devoted reader. xo

  2. Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Such important and rich questions. Such honesty and humility in your replies… Stuff I think about all the time too. Thanks. xox

  3. Posted September 19, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    “Because I figure out what I think when I write.” Same here, Lindsey. Same here. xo

  4. Posted September 19, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I think there is loveliness and risk in everything we do. Your willingness to continually weigh it will keep you on track.

  5. Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I loved hearing the answers to these questions. Like you, I, too, write to figure out what I know — such a great way to put it. Congrats again on five years of blogging!

  6. Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I am late to the party, but happy 5th! What an accomplishment. I’m so glad to have found you and your blog.

    As for those judgers on the playground…Grr. Just jealous, I say.

  7. Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    PS: I wanted to wish you a hearty congratulations on finishing a draft of your memoir. A major accomplishment, and a milestone I, too, hope to one day pass!

  8. Posted September 19, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    As always, your openness and honesty is what pulls me in and connects me to you. I can’t imagine this space without it. xoxo

  9. Posted September 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    So much of what you say here resonates with me, but this passage leapt off the screen: “I now have a map of my wandering around my own brain.” That’s what writing – and blogging in particular – has become for me too, and that’s both incredible and scary.

    Looking forward to hearing more of your reflections. xo

  10. Posted September 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I feel so lucky to share this journey with you. Happy blog anniversary and I am excited to read your answers to all the other questions people posted.

  11. Posted September 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I love what you wrote about the maps:) Thanks for these questions – these are things I HAVEN’T thought about. I guess I too think that anyone can find anything on the web and a few photos of my kids aren’t going to really add to the mix – they are already on the school’s website anyway. These are great things to think about though.

    Happy 5th!!

  12. Posted September 20, 2011 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Wise and endearing post, a reminder of why I come to this place and why, when we do, it can really make a difference to others. I cannot express enough how much YOU have changed my life. It seems odd, across all these miles, and with only two “in person” encounters, neither probably a true reflection of who either of us is, but indeed you have left an indelible mark on my life.

  13. Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for sharing your blogging wisdom with us! I’m coming up on my one-year mark of blogging and I’ve learned to so much. I can’t even imagine five years. That’s really an accomplishment!